Steiner Sports Optimizes Athlete Relationships to Empower Small Business Marketing

Steiner Sports Optimizes Athlete Relationships to Empower Small Business Marketing
January 25 06:09 2018 Print This Article

When I met Kelvin for the first time I could tell from the pictures on the wall that this was someone who had earned a deep level of trust and respect from some of the highest profile athletes in the world. Stars like Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Derek Jeter, Shaq, Odell Beckham Jr. and so many more. Kelvin is a master relationship builder which is what has enabled him to lead the Steiner Sports Marketing division which uses the power of sports marketing to help small businesses grow. I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of Steiner Sports Marketing and get an up-close view on how Kelvin and his team bring smart marketing opportunities to their clients. Here’s how the conversation went:


Jay: After working in finance for over a decade and starting your own shoe company, tell me the inside story on why you made the transition to sports and how you made your way up to CMO of Steiner Sports?

Kelvin: Prior to my current role as CMO & COO at Steiner Sports, I also served as a consultant for major luxury retail brands while at EY, worked with the C-Suite on strategy at Saks Fifth Avenue, and helped build the financial infrastructure at Gilt Groupe. Believe it or not all the roles had similar demands, because every business wants to grow. Steiner Sports Marketing specializes in helping companies from new startups to Fortune 500s use the power of sports to grow their business, so it was an easy transition.
Jay: Clearly the world of finance and the world of marketing are different. However, what similarities have you found between the two to be the same, as well as what skills have you developed in finance that has helped you become such a successful marketer?

Kelvin: Do you know why CMOs only last 18-24 months? We need to be able to deliver a return on marketing investments and articulate our vision in a language that CFOs understand, while staying aligned with the CEO. A CFO is primarily responsible for managing the financial risks of the corporation. This CFO is also responsible for financial planning and record-keeping, as well as financial reporting to the CEO and board. In some sectors the CFO is also responsible for analysis of data. I’m building a reputation as “The Intersection of Sports Marketing and Finance.” As a CPA, former CFO, business owner, current CMO, I utilizing extensive experience in business consulting to help companies from new startups to Fortune 500s monetize their marketing spend.

Jay: As an owner of your own business you understand first hand how valuable influencer media can be as well as how vulnerable a small business can be to accept an influencer opportunity that may simply burn cash and not bring real returns. What key factors do you need to see when you consider an influencer opportunity? 

Kelvin: Technology is changing how we market. Brand building without accountability is over. If you can’t measure it then you can’t justify it. Sponsorships, brand ambassadors, and athlete endorsements can be maximized, reduced, or eliminated with the right sports marketing strategy. Enjoying close personal relationships with professional teams, star athletes, and sports media puts me in a unique position to guide corporate clients to leveraging full or fractional access to appropriate sports figures and assets to build their brands through athlete appearances, turnkey events, local and national promotions, and digital content.

Jay: Athletes have incredible social media power and can bring publicity to a brand by simply posting a picture on social media, but we all know that it’s not just about publicity, it’s all about interaction. Turning the publicity into likes, comments and ultimately improving the bottom line and increasing your sales. How have you been able to help small businesses strategize to leverage the right athletes to work with certain brands, keep the cost low and create a long term plan that will grow their sales.

Kelvin: Entrepreneurs have an advantage, because small businesses have the ability to move like a speed boat while larger organizations tend to move like the Titanic.  There are a lot of “experts” making multi-million dollar decisions. It’s scary! Do you want a $1 million athlete endorsement or do you want to get an implied endorsement by investing $10K into an event. Steiner Sports’ value proposition allows companies to leverage its expertise, existing relationships, and $25 million annual athlete procurement spend to create marketing efficiencies, and maximize limited marketing budgets.

Jay: Steiner Sports has been able to leverage their relationships with the worlds biggest athletes to bring incredible experiences to your clients. Take me back stage on what you’ve witnessed when taking clients to a postseason Yankee game or Knick game. What do the clients appreciate most? 

Kelvin: How cruel of you to reference the postseason and the NY Knicks. LOL. We are all in the relationship business. Great experiences often enhance and deepen these relationships. I love going to Yankees games with clients or sending them with their families. Either way, after the 5th inning I ask the Yankees to pull 2nd base off the field and hand it to the client. It definitely does not hurt the relationship.

Jay: Next question, and I’m going to veer off topic a little and have some fun. I’ve been to your office and have seen pictures you’ve taken with just about every famous sports player. Who’s the most famous guy in your phone that you can send a random text to at anytime? There are millions of people who would die to be able to send Tom Brady a “what’s up text”. Is that still cool to you or you’ve been in the business for so long it’s no big deal?

Kelvin: The reason that I have these friends is because I am able to put my passion as a fan aside. The names in my phone trust me and don’t want me to answer this type of question. The small business reading this article can trust me as well.

Jay: Back to Steiner Sports, if I’m a small business and I have a limited marketing budget which I could either use on social media advertising or hiring Steiner Sports why would I chose Steiner Sports?

Kelvin: Our expertise and $25 million annual spend provides tremendous leverage that creates marketing efficiencies, and maximizes limited marketing budgets. Steiner Sports determines what sports marketing strategy will benefit the company the most, providing access to the right athletes and sports properties at the right time, negotiating contracts for the best deals, and measuring and analyzing results to ensure ROI.

Jay: Finally, and I’ll end with this question: If there’s one person, athlete or anyone who you could take them out to dinner and pick their brain for an hour and ask them anything you wanted. Who would that be and what would you ask them?

Kelvin: I’m a very spiritual person, so I would probably choose someone from the Bible. If you limit it to someone I can have dinner with now then you can’t go wrong with Oprah.

To learn more about Steiner Sports Marketing and to see if Steiner Sports is a fit for your business email Kelvin directly at kjoseph@steinersports.com


Kelvin Joseph is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Steiner Sports, which puts him at the intersection of Sports Marketing and Finance. As a CPA, former CFO and business owner, Kelvin utilizes his extensive experience in business consulting to help businesses grow and profit by identifying and leveraging sports, athletes, and major events with a constant eye on the bottom line.

Kelvin helps companies from new startups to Fortune 500s monetize their marketing spend by determining what sports marketing strategy will benefit the company the most, providing access to the right athletes and properties at the right time, negotiating contracts for the best deals, and measuring and analyzing results to ensure ROI.

Sponsorships, naming rights, athlete appearances, brand endorsements, special events and more. Enjoying close personal relationships with professional teams, star athletes, and sports media puts him in a unique position to guide corporate clients to leveraging full or fractional access to appropriate sports figures and assets to build their brands.